Tuesday, April 27, 2004


Nooooooo, I mean apart from being rudely awakened by the postman this morning to sign for receipt of 100 examination scripts which must, repeat absolutely must, be marked within the week.

And no, I don't mean having to teach a group of students twice a week the task of which, were I to draw an analogy with Formula 1 racing, would be akin to being on a perpetual warm up lap.

And no, I don't even mean that flashing bell in my tool bar which is still here after several weeks...avoiding my Norton anti-virus and by-passing my Ad-aware programme, still promising, upon moving my mouse over its golden form, something 'especially for you' and, upon right clicking upon it, offering me the opportunity either to 'open message' or 'leave it'.

And nor do I mean Froglet's decision to have her daddy take her to nursery school tomorrow, despite my having planned for a serious lie abed in the morning.

All these are but mere irritations, but a grain of sand in the shoe of the life of Kan. All succeptible to solution or amelioration by application of moderate quantities of Stella and Islay malt. All leading to a slight curve in the road rather than the dangerous bender which might well ensue were I to dwell too much on the following conversation I had in a fast food emporium here in Nagykanizsa today.

I was wearing my usual inane grin on my face this lunchtime...I wear it in a deliberate attempt to compensate for the usual glum expressions of the local populace who always appear to be but one small step away from attempting to ensure the continuation of Hungary's proud record of having the highest suicide rate per capita in Europe...as I sashayed, shimmied and otherwise locomoted myself into one of several establishments dedicated to the relief of sudden and acute hunger pangs which appear suddenly and without warning in the midst of a sojourn into the town center to bring the payments on my insurance up to date, collect the backlog of Independents at the newsagent's and to purchase six paprika peppers, lecso for the making of, one ripe, red capsicum, daughter for the pleasing of and 10 eggs the purpose of which is unknown to me at the time of writing.

Anyway, I found myself in a moderate queue, although to describe it as such is to imbue it with a sense of organisation in which it was most decidedly lacking, but I subdued my sense of Englishness at this point, continued humming 'Shiny, Happy People' at moderate volume and awaited my turn...or should I say opportunity for thrusting myself roughly in front of those who had indeed arrived after my own good self?

Upshot was that I arrived at a position where I was eye to eye and face to face with a spotty dweeb type character seemingly desirous of attending to my every whim snack-wise. I wished him a cheery good afternoon, for the clock had indeed passed midday, and phrased my request for comestibles thuswise.

"A chicken sandwich, please, my good man. On one of those excellent rye bread buns you do so well. Pray include as much salad material as will reasonably fit thereon, hold the radish and on no account feel free to smother it with any application of those strange and globulous things you see fit to keep in those squeezable containers on your otherwise fine and wonderful counter. Oh, and to take out, if it would not cause you too much trouble to accordingly package."

Spotty dweeb wipes nose on sleeve and enquires, in the finest Magyar of course, "Do you want fries with that?" I was only momentarily nonplussed at this point so I was forced into the additional inquiry of, "Excuse me?"

"Do you want fries with that?"

"Now I realise that it might be apparent to you that I am not of Magyar descent and may therefore, have missed a vital conjugation off my request..."

"Oh, no, sir."

"Then is there something in my general demeanour and deportment that suggests to you that I might not be totally entire in the cranial area and am therefore incapable of requesting from you exactly that which I am desirous of receiving?"

"Not at all, sir."

"Then why did you see fit to enquire of me whether I wish to receive something for which I did not ask?"

"We're told to ask all our customers that, sir."

"Then is it the opinion of the management of this establishment that those of the local populace who wander into your domain are so forgetful that they have to be reminded of what it may be that they came in for?"

"I don't think so, sir, it's just..."

"Well, unless you wish to ask me if there is anything else I do not want or you might, perchance, fancy continuing this invigorating conversation and, if you do, might I suggest we repair to the nearest bar where you may also buy me a drink and we can discuss this at length, you may, without further ado, fulfill my original order, provide me with the sustenance I crave and I will trouble you no more. You do remember my order, don't you?"

"Er...um...you couldn't refresh my memory, could you, sir?"

"Chicken sandwich, rye bread, maximum salad, hold the radish, no condiments."

"You want fries wi....oh, sorry, sir."

I mean, it's enough to drive one to drink.

Now, Laphroaig or Ardbeg? And do I want Stella with that?

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